A FEVER, persistent cough and a loss of taste or smell are the known key coronavirus symptoms.
But experts say there may be earlier warning signs of Covid which could appear before the most common ones – when people are most infectious.
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Scientists from King's College London have found that people who have been infected with Covid-19 often suffer with a headache and fatigue first.
Using data from the Covid Symptom Tracking App, their "surprising" findings showed that 82 per cent experienced a headache and 72 per cent felt fatigued before classic symptoms emerged.
The experts say that only nine per cent of adults aged between 18 and 65 say they didn't experience headache or fatigue in the first seven days of Covid – which is when people are at their most infectious.
However, they point out that these symptoms commonly occur in other conditions, which is why they don't trigger a Covid test on their own.
In fact, just one per cent of those who reported fatigue and/or a headache on the app ended up testing positive for Covid.
The experts said: "So while headache and fatigue are commonly found in people who have Covid – alongside other symptoms – having either or both of those symptoms alone is unlikely to be indicative of Covid."
Their research did however show that 40 per cent of all age groups reported having a fever in the first seven days.
This or a loss of smell and persistent cough are still the key symptoms to be aware of and someone with these should get a Covid test, they warn.
Experts also noted some symptom variations in different age groups.
A headache, loss of smell, persistent cough and sore throat are more often reported by adults aged between 18 and 65, than the elderly or children.
While a loss of smell is experienced more by the adult age group too – at 55 per cent, compared with 21 per cent in children and 26 per cent in the elderly.
Those over 65 reported being confused, disorientated and having severe shortness of breath more often than the other groups, while overall these symptoms are less common in those aged 18-65.
The experts relied on data from app users who tested positive for Covid-19 from a swab test.
It has now been downloaded by more than four million people across the UK.
SKIN RASH SIGN
The experts have also called for skin rashes to be made the fourth official symptom of coronavirus.
They found that nine per cent of people who had tested positive for coronavirus also had either a body rash or a rash on their fingers or toes.
Researchers said rashes were twice as common in children as in adults and may be a better predictor of having a swab test than a fever or cough.
According to the data, rashes may appear before, during or after the presence of other Covid symptoms and sometimes many weeks later.
Rashes were also the only sign of infection for 21 per cent of people with a positive nasal swab.
As a result of these findings, the experts asked people to anonymously submit images of their rash for further investigation.
They received 3,195 pictures in total, which were reviewed, classified and curated by a team of senior dermatologists.
The team have since urged the Goverment to add rashes to the official coronavirus symptom list.
They are the same group of experts who flagged that users were reporting a loss of sense of taste and smell, which was later added to the list.
Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King's College London and lead of the Covid Symptom app, said: “Thanks to our millions of app users we were quickly able to confirm the link between skin rashes and Covid-19 but also the timing of the rashes, their associations with other Covid-19 symptoms, as well as the different types of rashes across different age groups.
"We are extremely grateful to all app users who provided pictures via the app as without them none of this would have been possible.
"We have asked the government to add a new skin rash to the official NHS list of signs and symptoms of Covid-19 as it will reduce infections and save lives.”
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